Making Human Rights for Roma a reality

During 2010, the European public saw for the first time the reality of life for Roma as television bulletins showed families awaiting expulsion from Western Europe back to their countries of origin. A community that had been invisible were suddenly in the public eye, with the reality of their condition plain for all to see.

Some 10 - 12 million Roma people are estimated to live in Europe, present in each country. They are amongst the most deprived of all communities, facing daily discrimination and racial insults, living in extreme poverty and exclusion from the normal life that other people take for granted – going to school, seeing the doctor, applying for a job or having decent housing. Past efforts to help them have not brought the hoped-for results, and although laws do exist in Europe, they all too often fail to make an impact on the daily lives of Roma families.

The events of 2010 prompted Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland to propose a fresh approach, calling together all those involved – governments, the European Union and the Roma themselves - in a High Level Meeting. It resulted in a joint pledge to cooperate on Roma issues and practical, easy to implement schemes which involve Roma communities in building a better future.

Latest event and news Latest event and news

National trainings for legal professionals on anti-discrimination with a focus on Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Moldova

The series of national trainings as a follow-up to the Training of trainers on anti-discrimination, with a focus on Roma and LGBT for legal professionals, organised last year by the Support Team of the SRSG for Roma Issues together with the HELP Programme and the SOGI Unit, is continuing.

After the first National training that took place last December in Albania, national trainings for legal professionals will take place on 17-18 June 2014 in Sarajevo and on 23 June 2015 in Cahul, the Republic of Moldova.  It is expected to have some 30 legal practitioners present at each training.

The national trainings aim to improve the understanding of lawyers, judges and prosecutors from member States concerning Roma and consequently their work as legal professionals, i.e. to raise lawyers awareness and interests in representing Roma before national courts and the ECtHR; to help prosecutors and judges to lead unbiased investigations involving Roma and /or conduct unbiased trials and criminal investigations, in line with specific powers and functions at national level, also based on existing case-law on Roma.

The outcome would be the creation of a specific pool of legal professionals/HR trainers with an interest in Roma issues, not only to help the Council of Europe's work, but also the work of other human rights national and international organisations dealing with this issue.

SRSG's public statements SRSG's public statements
International Roma calendar International Roma calendar
Tools and texts of reference Tools and texts of reference

The term "Roma" used at the Council of Europe refers to Roma, Sinti, Kale and related groups in Europe, including Travellers and the Eastern groups (Dom and Lom), and covers the wide diversity of the groups concerned, including persons who identify themselves as "Gypsies":


Ad hoc Committee of Experts on Roma Issues (CAHROM)

Good practices database Good practices database

Database on Roma-related policies and good practices:


The ROMACT Joint Pogramme of the Council of Europe and European Commission aims to strengthen the capacity of local and regional authorities (targeting both elected officials and senior civil servants) to develop and implement plans and projects for Roma inclusion.


The European Training Programme for Roma Mediators (ROMED) aims to reinforce mediators' skills to facilitate communication and cooperation between Roma and public institutions, especially schools, health services and employment offices.

Anti-discrimination training Anti-discrimination training

Professional training of lawyers involved in the defence of Roma and Travellers' rights

Roma women Roma women

Roma women are a quiet but strong force for change, both a change in the fate of their communities' lives, as well as in their condition as women facing multiple discrimination. Empowering Roma women through trainings and international Conferences is among the Council of Europe priorities

Roma youth Roma youth

Working closely together with Roma youth

Roma children Roma children
Roma History and Culture Roma History and Culture

Public knowledge about the history and culture of Roma is still marginal among ordinary people. National governments and international organisations are trying to overcome segregation, stigmatisation and marginalisation of the Roma and to integrate them into society. One of the keys for integration is education of both Roma and non-Roma. An integral part of this educational process is mutual knowledge about the common history and culture of Roma and non-Roma in Europe.

Archive Archive

The following websites contain a wealth of reference texts and materials, which will be gradually moved onto the new Roma website: